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Re: SG-W:/ Unveiling the Ann Arbor Area Parks and Greenbelt ballot proposal



Washtenaw County already has a county planning department.  But in a
home-rule state like Michigan, true regional cooperation is difficult to
achieve sustain (see the Detroit area for Exhibit A).  One intriguing thing
about the Ann Arbor Parks and Greenbelt proposal is that it would create an
alternative model for regional cooperation, one based on positive incentives
for cooperation rather than regulation.

As I understand it, the proposal would give Ann Arbor and nearby townships
another important tool in their anti-sprawl toolkit.  Those nearby townships
interested in preserving their unique character, forestalling tax increases,
and protecting their water quality would be able to partner with Ann Arbor
in protecting important natural areas and agricultural land, if they so
desired.  Ann Arbor would benefit in similar ways.

This approach, based on an expanded view of each community's self-interest,
strikes me as a smart way to build on the interest in alternatives to
traditional suburban sprawl in those communities that want a better way.  As
it happens, the communities mentioned by Andrew as alternative centers for
growth in Washtenaw County have already committed to such a role by virtue
of their zoning boards, master plans, and rejection of regional land use
initiatives such as 1998's Proposal 1.  So passage of the Parks and
Greenbelt proposal would seem to give everyone what they want:  less sprawl
in those near-Ann Arbor townships that don't want such sprawl, and more
sprawl in those communities that welcome it.

 - Mike Sklar



----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew I. Mutch" <amutch@waterford.lib.mi.us>
To: "smartgrowth-washtenaw" <smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Friday, August 08, 2003 10:27 AM
Subject: Re: SG-W:/ Unveiling the Ann Arbor Area Parks and Greenbelt ballot
proposal


> While this is an excellent start and I'm glad to see that A2 is going to
> be part of a regional solution and not just focused on within the City
> limits, there needs to be some more serious discussions about planning
> across Washtenaw County to accomodate growth. While growth should be
> directed towards A2 and Ypsi and they both can benefit from it, there also
> has to be a realistic discussion of accomodating new growth as well. You
> can't focus all of the growth into A2, otherwise, you'll end up destroying
> the qualities that make the City such an attractive place to live.
>
> I think the best approach I've seen to dealing with growth is the work of
> Peter Calthorpe [http://www.calthorpe.com/]. Calthorpe has suggested the
> creation of new towns to accomodate growth when the pace and amount of
> growth exceeds what established communities can accomodate. No, this
> isn't the the same thing as the Newmarket proposals that suggested
> creating "new urbanism" centers without any kind of regional context.
> Instead, Calthorpe takes a more regional view, indentifying locations
> where you can create new towns that can accomodate growth and then
> developing those towns scaled towards pedestrians and to accomodate
> transit. But more importantly in my view, Calthorpe surrounds these new
> towns with greenbelts of farmlands and open spaces. These help in the
> creation of place by ensuring that both existing and new places don't
> merge into a mass of undiluted sprawl.
>
> In Washtenaw County, it's critical that Ann Arbor help communities like
> Ann Arbor and Superior Townships establish and protect agricultural zones
> that will buffer the City against sprawl. Otherwise, Ann Arbor can rename
> itself West Canton. Communities like Pittsfield and Scio Townships may
> still be able to create their own identities but they too have a role to
> play in creating greenbelts. The City of Ann Arbor owns hundreds of acres
> of land, some of it farmed, south of the City that include and surround
> the MRF. Combined with the Pittsfield Preserve, this land, if dedicated as
> a greenbelt, which still could be farmed in those areas where possible,
> would be a simple, no-cost way of establish that greenbelt south of the
> City and helping both communities create the separation needed to create
> their own identities.
>
> Outside of A2, clearly established towns like Saline, Dexter, Chelsea and
> Manchester would be logical places to direct growth while also
> establishing greenbelts. It will take a lot of community discussion to
> decide what levels of growth are acceptable. Plus, some Townships
> (Sylvan) still seem to think that all growth is good. But those
> communities might be able to accomodate the majority of projected growth
> in the future. If not, you may want to look at planning for a "new town"
> but it would have to be located where it could connect into existing
> transportation options. It makes absolutely no sense to locate those out
> in the middle of farmland. Only with this kind of regional perspective can
> the County hope to fashion senses of places while preserving farm land and
> open spaces. While A2 has done an admirable job doing both, its clear, no
> one community can do it by itself.
>
> Andrew Mutch
> Novi
>
>
> On Fri, 8 Aug 2003, barbara nagler wrote:
>
> >
> >
> > A thought:
> > One thing I seldom see discussed is how compatible the desires
> > to attract lots of new employees (i.e., population growth) and to
preserve
> > green space, really are.  If everything is framed in terms of Ann
Arbor's
> > economic and population growth (I'm referring to the Mayor's words here)
> > rather than a more comprehensive ecological context in which all species
> > have equal value-- Is it really going to be possible to preserve that
much
> > space?  If population growth is going to be valued, then attention will
> > have to be paid strongly to making a town center so healthy, appealing
and
> > AFFORDABLE that it attracts a growth in density there, rather than
sprawl
> > at the periphery & beyond.
> >
> > Irena
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ===============================================================
> > smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
> > sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in
Washtenaw
> > County.
> >
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> > smartgrowth-washtenaw"
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> >
>
>
>
>
> ===============================================================
> smartgrowth-washtenaw:  Internet List and Forum for issues relating to
> sprawl, smart growth, and preservation of the quality of life in Washtenaw
> County.
>
> Postings to:  smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net      For info, send
> email to majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info
> smartgrowth-washtenaw"
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